It’s Not All Roses: My Struggles With Minimalism

My struggles with MinimalismMinimalism is slowly becoming a part of my life- and I love it. With writing about Why I became a minimalist, I barely scratched the surface. When the reality of my maximalist lifestyle hit me, I knew I wanted a change. As I scrambled for what that change would look like, I stumbled on minimalism. But like many minimalists and skeptics, I feared that what I had stumbled upon was just a trend. 

Fast forward almost two years since I first wondered about minimalism and I am finally getting a hang of it. But with growth in this path, I’m faced with some challenges. My goal as I document my journey is to share the ups and the downs. I’d hate to only share the good parts of minimalism and paint this rosy portrait of what this journey has been. That’d be unfair. I officially embraced minimalism sometime this year and it’s one of the best decisions  I have made for myself. As great as it is, it’s also been challenging. So with this post, I hope to highlight some of my struggles with minimalism. I hope to connect with others who are going through the same.

First of all…….

the journey is hard.

Note that I’m saying the journey to minimalism; not minimalism itself. I don’t think living a minimalist lifestyle is hard at all. The glimpse of it that I have is amazing! The journey to that lifestyle tho is difficult when you’re coming from a maximalist and consumerist lifestyle. When you’re so used to accumulating things or having sentimental attachments to your things, it’s tough.

Yes there are all these strategies for letting go and with so many formulas put together on blogs, you’d think everything would go so perfectly…. wrong -__-. I’ve learned that those formulas and tips are great, but they’re often subjective. There’s not a perfect formula that works for everyone the same. Many tips online say “if you haven’t used it within the last 3-6 months, throw it away”. Sounds very easy to do on paper and I’ve been so giddy to actually apply that rule only to stare into my closet stuck. Many times. 

I still crave and want thing

Part of my reason for minimalism is to detach myself from consumerism. But as much as I know that consumerism isn’t good for me and those who work in the factory where my “stuff” is made or even the planet, I still desire to have things and to buy things. The feeling doesn’t just go away. You will crave things and the intensity varies by individual.

I’m not too much into shopping, and I never used to spend time window shopping at the mall but since I discovered thrifting, I’ve been wanting to go all the time. Wanting to buy things but never doing so sometimes feel like self-deprivation. I know it’s not, but it does feel that way sometimes. I have to learn to keep myself in check and that’s never the easiest thing to do.

When you see the real you, would you love you?

Listen, this journey to a simple and minimalist lifestyle has revealed things about me that I never knew. It has also enhanced things about me that I know but never focused on. You start fully thinking about the way you collect so many things in the first place. For most of us, there’re psychological triggers. Many collect things to fill voids, some collect to prove to others that they can afford to. Another collect because certain things to fulfill a purpose.

Whatever the reason is, when you begin to declutter and embrace minimalism, you are forced to face them. It doesn’t feel good but it transforms you. I have found myself crying on numerous occasions because of this. But it’s a process I wouldn’t trade.

When is this all going to end

One thing I’ve noticed is that the more I declutter, the more there is to declutter and the more I desire to declutter. It’s like a never-ending journey. I have found myself jumping up from the bed and rushed to my closet and start throwing things away. Sometimes there’s just a weird urge deep inside of me to declutter and I wonder if I’m going insane.

The more I declutter the more things I see around me that needs to go. Sometimes I worry. What if I’m left with nothing – that’s probably too extreme and would never happen but it does cross my mind. That is a struggle for me. I don’t want to give into random declutter urges and be left with nothing. The fear of having nothing is real. 🙁

People seem to think I’m on with a trend that’ll fade away soon

I try not to tell people that I’m a minimalist because I dread the questions that follow. I hate that many people think minimalism is just a trend. Some think I’m just going through a phase and I’ll regret it later. I never thought it’d be so hard. Being a people pleaser makes it tough because you want to appease to how people feel about you. I’m not a very confrontational person or care to argue so it’s hard having to explain my choice to people who are bent on disagreeing with it. 

[bctt tweet=”Out of Clutter, Find Simplicity” username=”asaakemi”]

What would people really think…. especially when it comes to fashion

So if you let me, I’d wear white and grey every day. They’re my two favorite colors. But I often wonder what will really happen when I fully declutter your closet? My goal for my closet is to find my own personal style and fill my closet with clothing pieces that make me happy. So, I am pulling back to only keeping clothing items that bring me joy and excite me to wear. I realized that those colors are grey, white, brown and mustard yellow.

My only fear with only filling out my closet with items in this color is a slight worry that people will assume I am repeating clothes. Not like it’s any big deal but I do think about it. This fear is what many minimalists also experience. People assume that if you are not buying and filling your house with things that perhaps you’re just broke. I honestly don’t care if people think I’m broke. I just worry what would cross people’s mind in our world of “you’re not allowed to repeat clothes” *cough cough- Nigerian asoebi & wedding guest outfits*

There are obviously more, but these are the few that I’m currently struggling with. I feel they’re intensified now as we near the end of the year. My goal is to do about 80 percent of my decluttering by year end. So I’ve got ways to go in the next four weeks.

I know I’m not alone. If you have any struggles as you embark on your journey to minimalism and wholesome living, do share it below. I will be intentionally documenting my journey more here and on Instagram. So be sure to follow me!

my struggles with minimalism

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  • Hahaha. I have a feeling this will be me soon. I want to declutter and embrace this new way of living. But I fear that I’m set in my old ways. I’ll get over it I know. I’ll do just fine.

    • You will do just fine. When you start seeing the difference in your everyday life, the struggles are minute in comparison to the benefits

  • Thank you for your honesty Asakemi, I find it very refreshing. I’m not a minimalist but I would like to cut down on how much stuff I buy/own. I see it as my little way of helping the planet but it’s so difficult. Consumerism is really ingrained in us especially when you come from a country like ours. All your points are valid, thank you for sharing. xx
    Coco Bella Blog

  • I was talking with a friend recently and she wore the same outfit for a month as a social expiremtn and no one noticed. I think minimalism is great to attain, but it’s hard in our consumerism society. I appreciated reading your reflective journey!

  • Awh, I get what you mean I started my minimalism journey in May when I realised it was not living with the bare minimum and white walls (not that theres anything wrong with that its just not me, I hate white clothes, walls anything unless its in nature where I can appreciate its beauty. Is there a lot that has changed for you? I decided to try and zero waste so far my landfill rubbish went from 3 bags a week to 1 bag a fortnight for my family of 4 (2 children and 2 adults), I also decided to donate a heap of clothes to charity along with some of my childrens toys that they no longer played with.